Amid the celebrations for President Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony in January, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper met with Attorney General Eric Holder during an inaugural reception in Washington, D.C., where the two men discussed an unorthodox topic, given their surroundings: marijuana.
Colorado and Washington state legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2012, and Hickenlooper was concerned about how the federal government planned to respond. The new laws set the stage for what could be a sticky conflict between the state and federal government. Although the drug is now legal under state law, it is still banned under the federal Controlled Substances Act, Holder’s Department of Justice is tasked to enforce. The states are still waiting for an answer from the feds, and Hickenlooper’s inauguration chat with Holder was just one of many conversations in an ongoing discussion between the DOJ and state government officials.
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